Lottoland launches legal challenge against ACMA ruling

7 June 2019

Lottoland Australia has launched legal action against a ruling by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) that accuses the lottery betting operator of breaking the law by launching its jackpot betting games in the country. 

The ACMA has decided that a number of its jackpot products constitute games of chance, which are prohibited under Australia's Interactive Gambling Act, rather than a form of betting.

It said the Monday, Wednesday, Tuesday and Thursday Jackpot games, as well as the US Millions and US Power products, were all prohibited igaming products. Lottoland's Daily Millions jackpot betting service, on the other hand, was not found to be in breach.

The ACMA has been investigating the online jackpot betting games since they launched in January this year, reportedly following a quest from then-Minister for Communications Mitch Fifield. The games were launched to replace Lottoland's lottery betting products in the Australian market, which were prohibited from January 1, 2019, after the Australian parliament approved a ban in June last year.

The games take numbers at random from financial markets at set times of day, which are then used to create on single, large number. This is then converted into winning numbers for a lottery-style draw. 

Though Lottoland has pointed out that as the numbers are drawn from Australian and international stock indices, on which the country's gambling laws allow bets to be placed, the launch immediately came in for criticism. Alongside the ACMA investigation, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has also received complaints querying whether the games are in breach of interactive gambling laws. 

Lottoland is disputing the ACMA's decision, and has launched legal proceedings.

“We have decided to challenge ACMA in the Supreme Court because we believe their view on jackpot betting is wrong," Lottoland Australia chief executive Luke Brill said in a statement issued to iGamingBusiness.com.

“Lottoland’s jackpot betting products have been approved by the relevant licensing authorities, and we believe they are fully compliant with Australian law.

“We have worked hard to adapt to recent changes to the law, and we are committed to providing exciting new products that our customers love," he explained. “By taking this stand against ACMA, we are fighting for the rights of hundreds of thousands of Australians who enjoy the occasional flutter. We are fighting for freedom of choice.”

ACMA said it will not be making further comment on the matter while legal proceedings are in progress.